The Party

The Party

by Melanie Brown

Copyright  © 2013 Melanie Brown

Stevie just wanted to go out dressed. It went downhill from there...

“What are you doing, Stevie?” asked my sister Melissa as she looked into my room. “You’re just staring into space.”

“What?” I blinked a few times before turning my head towards the door. “Oh. I’m just thinking.”

“That’s dangerous to do without prior clearance,” smiled Melissa. “What are you thinking about that uses so much energy?”

I turned in my chair to face my sister. I said, “I’m trying to decide what my Halloween costume should be.”

Leaning against the door jam, Melissa smirked, “Aren’t you a little old for Trick or Treating?”

I put my hands behind my head and leaned back. “Well, technically no. I’m still sixteen until January and I don’t think there’s an age limit.” I leaned back forward and said, “I got invited to Terri’s Halloween party. Yes, that Terri.”

Terri was a very popular girl at school and any party she would throw was an exclusive event. I retrieved her homework from her laptop after she thought it was deleted and my reward was an invitation.

Melissa grinned and said, “Ooh! Touch you!”

“I might not ever get invited again to one of her parties, so I want something good.” I went back to staring at the ceiling.

Still standing in my doorway, my sister asked, “Are you going to make something or buy something? When is her party?”

“I don’t know if I have time to buy anything cool,” I said. “By now, anything in adult sizes would just be cheesy looking.”

Melissa laughed and said, “Oh? You’re wearing adult sizes now? Since when, short stuff?”

Frowning, I said, “It’s not my fault I’m short.” I stuck my tongue out at her.

Melissa looked thoughtful for a moment and then said, “Why don’t you go dressed as a girl? Great opportunity for you. You even already have your ears pierced.”

I gave my sister a wry grin and said, “Yeah. But I don’t want a coming out party. I just want to attend a party, but not cause a scene.”

Melissa stepped into my room and said, “Unless you step up on the table and shout, ‘Hey everybody, I’m a tranny!’ nobody is going to jump to that conclusion.”

I shrugged and said, “Yeah, true. And don’t say tranny. And don’t say it so loudly!”

She looked over her shoulder and said, “Why? Mom’s…um…sorta cool with you dressing up.”

Frowning, I said, “It’s not Mom. It’s Dad. He’s totally not cool with it.”

With a smirk, my sister said, “Bowling night, remember? Anyway, we’re about the same size. You can wear one of my dresses. Not my prom dress though. Special memories with that dress.”

I laughed and said, “Yeah. No doubt. After the prom you were late with your period and you panicked.”

Melissa frowned, rushed to my bed, plucked the pillow off it and threw it at me. Through gritted teeth, she snarled, “I did not have sex with Dustin! So stuff it! And how did you know about my period anyway?”

Grinning, I said, “I overheard you talking to Mom about it.”

“Stop spying on me! Sheesh,” Melissa hissed.

“Okay, okay! I’m sorry. I’ll never spy on you again,” I lied.

“Anyway, how about my cheerleader uniform?” Melissa asked. I think you’d look cute in it.

I rolled my eyes and said, “Isn’t that a little cliché? A T-girl going to a Halloween party dressed as a cheerleader? Maybe meet some gorgeous hunk and run off together into the sunset? I read those stories on-line all the time.”

Melissa shrugged and said, “So it’s cliché. Big deal. This would be real and it would be you. Maybe you would meet some gorgeous hunk there.”

I made a face and said, “Sheesh, Melissa. I’m not into guys. Just because I don’t want to be a guy, doesn’t automatically mean I like guys.”

Melissa sat on my bed and grinned broadly. “Bullshit. Ever since I found you in my underwear and got Mom and Dad upset, you’ve sat with me going through my magazines. You giggle and point at guys you think are cute. You can’t deny it.”

Frowning, I said, “That’s different. That’s just fantasy.”

“Is David going to be at the party?” Melissa asked, out of the blue.

Shrugging I said, “Probably. He’s very popular. He’ll be captain of the team next year.”

Grinning, Melissa said, “You have a crush on him, don’t you? Admit it, Stevie. I’ve seen how you look at him when he’s not looking when he comes over for you to help him with his math homework.” She poked my shoulder and said, “You’ve got a cruh-ush!”

I felt my face redden. In a quiet voice, I said, “Okay. I admit it. I have a crush on David. Every time he’s sitting next to me, I wish so hard that he’d turn around and kiss me.”

Melissa said, “Well then, kiss him! He might like it.”

My eyes widened in shock. I said, “Are you insane? I don’t want him to hate me! He likes girls. That’s pretty solid. He has a girlfriend.”

Grinning again, Melissa said, “Well. He’s on the football team. You dress as a cute cheerleader. You get his attention and… huh! Huh?! Yeah?”

“You’ve gone off the deep end, sis,” I said, shaking my head.

“I’ll even take you to my stylist,” exclaimed Melissa. “She might be able to do something with that mop on your head.”

“Serious?” I asked, surprised she’d want to help.

“Yeah! We’ll go for the manicure and pedicure. You’ll want your nails to look nice. You’ll love it! It’s great.” Melissa crossed her legs and took on a wistful expression.

“I always wanted to go to a salon,” I said. “Are you sure your stylist would do a guy’s hair?”

Melissa laughed and said, “I’m sure Sheila would find it hilarious. If you’re nervous, just go as a girl.”

I smirked and said, “Oh yeah. Nothing to get nervous about being dressed up in public.”

Melissa just smiled. I think she was enjoying this idea all too much. She said, “It’ll be great! Just wear a pair of my jeans and one of my tops and maybe a bit of make-up. You’ll be cute. I’ll have to tell Sheila, but no one else would know.”

“That’d be cool,” I grinned. I pointed at my chest and said, “But uh…I’m a little skimpy up here.”

Melissa gave me a dismissive wave and said, “Meh. You’re not the only flat-chested girl out there. But we can try adding some padding there if you want. We can figure something out.”

“Thanks, Melissa,” I said sincerely. “I’m surprised that you’d want to help.”

Shrugging, Melissa said, “Just seemed like a fun thing to do. Hey, I need to make a phone call.”

“See ya,” I said as she gave me a small wave and left my room.


*          *          *


“Ready?” Melissa asked as she stuck her head in my room.

I took a deep breath and said, “I guess.”

“Come to my room and pick out what you want to wear,” said my sister as she started walking down the hall to her room. At her door, she turned to face me and asked, “Do you want help with your make-up or can you handle it? I know you get into my stuff.”

I gave a guilty smile and said, “I could probably use the help. I was hoping you could help me with my make-up tonight for the party.”

Melissa grinned and said, “Sure. What are sisters for if not to help their brothers with their make-up?”

I took off my shirt and sat down at her vanity in just my jeans. Before she caught me in her underwear, I used to sneak in when the house was empty and play with her make-up.

“We’re just going with minimum make-up. Just enough to ensure you pass,” Melissa said as she sat down next to me and picked up a bottle of foundation. “For the party tonight, we’ll go full tilt teen girl with you.”

As she started to smooth the foundation on my face, I said, “This is fun. I feel like we’re sisters now.”

My sister smiled and said, “Yeah. It is. I like having a sister. Maybe now you’ll stop putting fake spiders and shit in my bed.”

After the make-up, I picked a bright pink small-cupped bra from Melissa’s dresser. It was my favorite bra of hers and was the one I was caught wearing. We rolled up a couple of pairs of pantyhose to fill out the cups.

Plucking bright pink panties from her dresser, Melissa said, “Here. Might as well take the matching panties too.” She grinned and said, “Go ahead and keep them.”

“Serious?” I said as I took the panties from her.

“Sure,” she said as she opened her closet door. “I can’t wear the bra any more anyway.” She reached into the closet and pulled out a pair of her jeans. “Here. Go in the bathroom and change into your panties and these jeans.”

In the bathroom, I excitedly started pulling up the pretty, bikini-style, satiny and lacy pink panties up my legs. After I pulled them up, I felt the growing erection. Oh God, stop! I said to myself. In the excitement of the moment, I’d completely forgotten about the cheap gaffe I’d made. It was in my room, down the hall.

It was Saturday afternoon and Dad would be glued to the TV watching some game. Mom was probably in the dining room, reading another of her Gothic romance stories. If I was quick, no one should notice me running down the hall dressed only in a bra and panties.

I closed the door as I zipped into my room. I opened my dresser and searched for the gaffe I kept hidden there. I removed my panties and put the gaffe in place and secured it with some tape and then pulled the panties back on. I looked down, once again annoyed seeing the gaffe and tape, but at least it would keep my stupid penis from giving me away.

Opening my door, I started to run back down the hall to the bathroom and almost knocked over my mom carrying clean towels.

Before turning to look at me, Mom said, “Hey. Remember the rule about no running in the…Stevie! What do you think you’re doing in your sister’s underwear again? Do we need another talk?”

I lifted my finger to my lips and whispered, “Shh! Not so loud, Mom! You know how Dad feels about this stuff. These are mine now anyway. Melissa and I going to go out with me dressed. Isn’t that exciting?”

Mom frowned and said, “I keep hoping you’ll grow out of this phase. And now your sister is encouraging you?”

Feeling very exposed standing in the hall wearing only a bra and panties, I said, “It’s Halloween, Mom! You’re supposed to dress up.”

Mom started walking to the bathroom to put up the towels and said, “It’s Saturday. Halloween is next week.”

I stood outside the bathroom doorway waiting for Mom to finish as I said, “It’s October. The whole month is Halloween!”

“Whatever,” Mom said as she started back down the hall.


*          *          *


“Nervous?” asked Melissa as we got out of her car in front of the salon.

“Yeah,” I said. “I feel like everyone is looking at me and laughing.”

Melissa laughed and ironically said, “No one is laughing. You look great. To be honest, you look kinda like me a couple of years ago. Look, I think you’re more girly than I am, so I know you’ll love going to the salon.”

“I hope so,” I said hesitantly. “This is like a whole new world.”

As we entered, a woman behind a counter looked up and said, “Hey, Melissa. Right on time. I guess this is your…um…sister, right?”

“Hey, Sheila!” said my sister with a big grin. “Yes. This is Stevie.”

Sheila stood up and smiled at me and said, “Hello, Stevie. Welcome to my salon. You’re as beautiful as your sister. Come on back and let’s see what to…I mean, for you.”

We walked through a beaded doorway to a back room with six rows of chairs lined up in front of a mirrored wall with deep sinks built in. Four of the chairs were occupied.

Pointing to the first chair, Sheila said, “Sit here, sugar. Let take a look at that hair.” Sheila hmm’d and oh my’d a few times before she said, “This is your first time in a salon, honey?”

I said, “Well, yeah.”

Shaking her head, Sheila said, “Sugar, you need to start coming here on a regular basis.” She held a handful of hair strands and said, “Look at this life-less hair! And split ends! You have pretty much the same hair as Melissa and look how bouncy and full her hair is. “

Actually looking concerned, Melissa said, “Can you fix it? Stevie has a party to go to at around six thirty tonight.”

Nodding and still probing my hair, Sheila said, “No worries, hon. That party’s not too far away. For a bit more and at discount for you, I can do her make-up too.”

Smiling, my sister said, “That’d be great. That way we don’t have to rush anything.”

Sheila started placing a plastic cover over my clothes and leaned the chair back as she said, “What kind of party is it?” She then gathered my hair into the sink and turned on the water.

I said, “It’s a Halloween party.”

Sheila looked at me curiously and said, “What are you going as?”

I grinned and said, “As a cheerleader for my school.”

Melissa said, “Yeah, so not like an evening out. And not a prostitute. More of your typical teen girl look.”

As she started washing my hair, even though I’d washed it that morning, Sheila said, “You’re making it too easy for me! I’ll still go a little heavy on the eye-liner and mascara. Her eyes need to look bigger. A little drama around the eyes won’t hurt. Maybe a pastel rose-pink for the lip gloss. You have your sister’s bone structure. I guarantee that when we’re done with you, when you enter that party tonight, every guy there is going to forget the girl he’s with and look at you!”

I swallowed and gave Melissa a worried look. I simply said, “Terrific.”


*          *          *


“Do I need to wear the pantyhose?” I asked as Melissa laid out her cheerleader uniform on her bed. Not that I minded wearing anything girly. I was afraid of looking like I went overboard to look like a girl. I looked at myself in Melissa’s mirror and saw a girl with pretty shoulder length hair, perfect make-up and her finger nails matching her lip color. I guess I lost that argument a long time ago.

She shrugged and said, “It’s optional, but it’s part of the uniform. It’s already getting a chilly outside. Go ahead and wear it.”

I just nodded and said, “You really think I should wear your black pumps instead of tennis shoes? Cheerleaders don’t wear heels.”

Melissa stood there holding the dress while I carefully pulled the pantyhose up. She said, “You’re going as a sexy cheerleader. You don’t want to be a plain vanilla cheerleader do you? You want David’s attention, don’t you?”

I took the cheerleader dress and said, “Will you stop, please? Yes, I have a crush on David. But he has a girlfriend. End of story.”

“Whatever,” said my sister. “Will you just put the uniform on? You don’t want to be too late.”

No sooner did I have the uniform on and trying to smooth the skirt, there was a knock on the door. I froze with terror. If it was Dad at the door, I was going to be so dead. Muffled by the door, Mom’s voice said, “I’m coming in.”

Melissa handed me a pair of huge hoop earrings as Mom opened the door. She put her hand to her mouth and gasped. “Oh my lord. Stevie, you’re beautiful. Every bit as lovely as your sister! I just can’t believe it.”

I grinned wide and said, “Thanks, Mom. You like?”

Frowning a little, Mom said, “If you were a girl, yes. I hope this is for the party Melissa told me about on the phone when she called to get me and your father out of the house?”

Melissa said, “Yep. I took Stevie to the salon to get his hair and make-up done and I didn’t want Dad to blow up when we came back home to get dressed. I think he looks great!”

Mom nodded and said, “Yes. Stevie could be your twin sister if he was a bit taller. When are you leaving for the Halloween party?”

Melissa said, “We’re almost ready. We’ll probably leave in about fifteen minutes. He’s already fashionably late.”

Mom nodded again and said, “Okay. I’ll get your father to take me to the grocery store so he’ll be out of the house when you leave.” Mom hugged me and said, “Have a good time, honey. I want you home by eleven.”

“Eleven!” I exclaimed. “The party goes to midnight at least.”

Mom smiled and said, “Eleven was Melissa’s curfew. You go to a party in girls clothes, you’ll get a girl’s curfew.”

“I’m not a girl, Mom,” I said in all seriousness.

Mom just looked at me.

Melissa said, “Mom, how about eleven-thirty. Dad’s always asleep in front of the TV by then.”

Mom shook her head, but said, “Okay. Eleven-thirty. But don’t let a boy talk you into anything.”

“I’m not a girl, Mom,” I said in all seriousness.

Mom looked at me again for a second, shook her head and started to turn back to the door. She said, “I’ll go get your father out of the house. Be back on time.”

After the door closed, Melissa giggled. “It’s a good thing we didn’t have much time. I really think Mom would have given you her lecture on the evils of boys.”

I sighed and said, “Is it that easy to forget I’m a boy? Sheesh.”

Melissa said, “Look in the mirror sis and ask that question again.”

I was just putting in the second earring when I looked again in the mirror. That’s when it finally hit me hard. There were no boys in the mirror. Nothing even remotely resembling a guy. All I saw were two very pretty girls — my sister and me. I’d seen myself before in the mirror as I pranced around dressed in my sister’s clothes, but the combination of my styled hair with the large ribbon, make-up, nails and the cheerleader dress hit me like a bucket of ice water.

I took a step towards the mirror, touching my hair. I said in a hushed tone, “I’m beautiful.”

Melissa stepped next to me and gave me a sisterly hug and said, “That you are, Stevie. That you are.”


*          *          *


My sister waved as she drove off, leaving me alone on the sidewalk in the chill evening air. I looked up the walkway to Terri’s house. So many times I’d day-dreamed of doing something like this. So many stories I’d read on-line about something like this. And now, here I was, really doing something like this. My stomach started doing flip-flops and a chill that wasn’t caused by the night air slid down my spine.

All the lights in the house were on, and as I approached the door, I could hear music blaring. There were cars lining up both sides of the street. I stopped short of the door and stood there for a few minutes as my knees shook. I opened my purse and touched my cell phone inside. Maybe I should just call Melissa and have her come back and get me now?

I closed my eyes and took some deep breaths. I straightened myself, opened my eyes and closed my purse. No. Who knew when I was going to have such a great opportunity again? I was going to do this, dammit. I marched right up to the porch and pressed the doorbell.

I fought a sudden urge to turn around and run.

The door opened and a pretty blonde girl with pink bunny ears, pink lipstick on her nose and black whiskers drawn on her face peek through the crack. “Hello?” Terri said.

I smiled and said with a nervous break in my voice, “Hi. I’m Stevie. I’m here for the party?”

Terri wrinkled up her nose in thought and said, “Stevie? Do I know you?”

Feeling crestfallen, I said, “Stevie McMahon? Remember, I got your files from your notebook computer last week?”

Terri’s face lit up slightly with remembering the event, though she didn’t recognize me. “Oh, yes! Hi Stevie. Come on in and join the party!” As I crossed the doorway into the house, I saw Terri was dressed in pink footie jammies with a large furry ball attached to her butt. She looked at me funny and said, “Why are you dressed as a cheerleader?”

“This is a Halloween party, isn’t it?” I asked, quickly losing confidence despite the way Terri was dressed.

Terri just grinned and said, “Well, I didn’t know you were a girl.”

I looked at her curiously and said, “I’m not. At least not yet.”

Terri just gave me a vacuous smile and said, “Well, welcome to my party! We have finger food in the dining room.”

Smiling, I said, “Thanks and hurried past her. Snacks sounded pretty good as I didn’t have time to eat anything. Several people, mostly guys took a look in my direction. I looked around and discovered I knew most of the party goers. I was surprised to see a few teachers as well. I guess the teachers acted as chaperones.

“Oh my God! Stevie?” said a female voice to my left. I turned and it was Zoe from my English class. Zoe was a real cheerleader and all ‘round hottie.

“Hi Zoe,” I said. “Cute costume you’re wearing.” Amazing would be more like it. A black leotard, fishnet stockings, black heels, cat ears protruding from her cascading dark brown hair with a long tail attached to her butt.

Zoe flashed me a smile and said, “Thanks. But you, Stevie. You look awesome! If I hadn’t known you since the third grade, I wouldn’t believe you’re a guy! You really look good in that uniform. Where did you get it?”

“Thanks,” I said. “It’s my sister’s. She was a cheerleader.”

“Cool,” said Zoe. Even though she laughed, she said, “Now, I’m not kidding. Maybe you should come to the Spring try-outs for the squad next year. Seriously!” She started to turn back to her group of friends and said, “Talk to you later.”

I turned to continue my way to the snacks. I was stopped a few more times by kids from school telling me how great I looked. I have to admit that my soul was soaring. I was so glad I had come.

I finally made it to the finger food and started loading up my plate with various items. I was starved. I saw a few fellow nerds off by themselves and thought I’d go over to them to chat. We were always getting on over the internet to play games.

Before I could head in my friend’s direction, a woman came up to me. She was the girls coach, Ms. Watkins. She was the cheerleader’s coach as well.

“Melissa?” said Coach Watkins. “Are you still going to Leary High?”

I laughed and said, “Melissa’s my sister. I’m Stevie.”

She smiled and said, “You look just like your sister, except maybe she was a bit taller. Have you ever done cheerleading?”

I grinned and said, “No. Well, I used to practice with Melissa so she’d have someone to practice with.”

Coach Watkins smiled and said, “Well, come by my office sometime Monday. I’d like to talk.”

Frowning slightly, I said, “Coach, I’m a guy.”

She gave me the strangest look and said, “Really? I mean, you look…”

I nodded and said, “Yes, really.”

Looking confused, Coach Watkins said, “Well, come by on Monday anyway. Bye.” She then walked away.

I have to admit, I found it to be a hoot for Coach Watkins to think I was Melissa. I couldn’t wait to tell my sister about that!

“Well, well, well,” said a guy from behind me. “Look who’s wearing a cheerleader dress.”

I turned and there was Mick Henderson, the local bully. I can’t imagine why Terri would invite this future criminal to her party. I smiled hesitantly and said, “Excellent powers of observation, Mick.”

He stepped up to me and sneered, “I always knew you were a fag. Nobody is going to go to this much trouble for a costume. Like this wig…” Mick reached up and jerked on my hair.

“Ow!” I yelled. “That’s my real hair, douche!”

Mick laughed heartily and said, “Well that’s worse, ain’t it?”

Suddenly Terri runs up in her pink bunny costume and shouts, “Mick! Leave her alone! I didn’t invite you in the first place so unless you want me to ask you to leave, please be nice to all my guests. Even the gay ones.”

“I’m not gay,” I said in an annoyed voice

Terri glanced at me, laughed and said, “Yeah right. Leave her alone, Mick. I mean it.”

Mick grinned at me and said, “I’ll see you Monday, little fairy.” He turned and walked away.

“You okay, Stevie?” asked a familiar voice as David walked up to me. He then let out a low whistle and said, “Shit. You’re really hot.” Typical. David was wearing his football uniform. Granted, I was wearing our school’s cheerleader uniform, but I’m not really a cheerleader. David on the other hand will most likely be the team captain next year.

I smiled, possibly a bit too much and said, “Hi David. Thanks. And yes, I’m okay.”

David shook his head and said, “One of these days, Mick is going to give me a good reason to pound him into the ground. Anyway, great costume. I don’t know how you did it, but I’d say you’re the prettiest girl here. If you don’t mind me saying that.”

I laughed and said, “Oh no. I don’t mind at all. Thank you. How are you? I don’t see Linda.”

David frowned for a moment. He said, “I’m doing good, actually. Linda’s over in the den with her little coven of friends. I wasn’t sure if I wanted to stay as it’s kinda awkward being here with her.”

“Oh?” was all I could say.

David smirked as he said, “Oh, I guess you haven’t heard yet. I dared to talk to another girl and she flew into a royal snit about it. I was just asking her if I could borrow her notes for the history test. Anyway, Linda and I are done. Crazy bitch. Oh. Sorry.”

I laughed and said, “You don’t have to say sorry to me. She probably is a crazy bitch.”

David was about to say something when Terri’s voice rose above the din. “What? You forgot? Robert, you promised!”

David and I both looked over to see the newcomer Robert by the door. He said, “Sorry! I just forgot. The tranny is out on my car, so my Mom brought me and I just forgot. Didn’t anyone else bring anything?” Robert, who apparently was trying to dress as the devil wore a red leotard and matching pantyhose, and a headband painted red with horns glued on. It looked very tacky.

“Everyone who promised to bring something, brought theirs,” scolded Terri. I followed David over to the heated discussion.
If I had to guess, I was standing a bit too close to him.

“Hey Rob. What’s up?” asked David.

Sighing, Robert said, “Hey, David. I forgot until we were on our way here that I’d said I’d bring a few cases of soda. And I didn’t want to go into the store dressed like this. Oh and really creative costume there, David.”

Laughing, David said, “I don’t like to dress up.” I could see Linda standing in the doorway leading to the den. She was looking and David and me. David must have seen her as well as he draped his arm around my shoulder.

Terri said, “We’re going to run out. After the bill came in for my last party, my parents weren’t going to pay for my next one.”

David raised his hand and said, “Cool your jets, Terri. If it’s not an outrageous amount, I’ll go get the sodas. How many cases do you think you’ll need?”

Terri bit her lower lip in thought for a moment and then said, “Robert was supposed to bring two cases of Dr. Pepper, one of Sprite and one of rootbeer. Although, from the looks of things, we could probably use four more cases of Dr. Pepper.”

David smiled and said, “No problem. I’ll go right now.”

“Can I come along?” I asked.

David smiled again and said, “Sure. I could use the help.” He looked over towards Linda and waved at her as he took my hand and led me out the door. The move took me completely by surprise.

As soon as we stepped outside, David let go of my hand. He said, “Sorry about that. I really didn’t mean to touch you like that. But Linda doesn’t know you’re not a girl and I couldn’t resist getting a dig into her.”

I grinned and looked at the sidewalk as we walked towards David’s truck. I said, “Oh, it’s okay. I didn’t mind. I figured that’s what you were doing.”

As we climbed into his truck, David said, “What’s someplace nearby that we can get these Cokes?”

I said, “Just go to the end of this street, turn left and go about three blocks. There’s one of the big Seven — Elevens there. In fact, my house is just down the street from there.”

David slid the truck into gear and started to pull away from the curb as he said, “That’s right. I forgot. I’ve been there a few times to get a Coke before going to your house.”

We rode in silence for the next couple of minutes before turning into the convenience store’s parking lot. There were only a few cars in the lot. I looked into the store but I couldn’t see Oscar the store clerk. He usually worked on Saturday nights and I wanted to show him my Halloween costume.

Walking to the store’s door, David said, “You get the Sprite and rootbeer. I’ll get the Dr. Peppers.”

“They’re going to get their car stolen,” I said pointing to an empty car with the engine still running. David just nodded.

Oscar wasn’t at the counter so I just hurried to the back where the refrigerated drinks were kept. Despite the cars outside, the store appeared empty. I turned past the end of a rack and saw Oscar laying still on the floor. I gasped and then from behind someone grabbed my hair and pulled hard.

“Come with me, girlie,” said a gruff voice in my ear. I felt something cold and metallic against my neck as I was pulled by my hair.

In the last aisle there were several people standing in shock. I saw David being shoved against the wall on the far side of the aisle. The cold disappeared from my neck and I then saw whoever was holding my hair thrust a semi-automatic pistol towards the four or five people in the back aisle. The man holding my hair said, “The cash-register was a little short so I’m going to ask all of you to make a donation. Toss your wallets and purses towards me. Now!” An overweight woman near me clung to her purse and the man waved his gun at her and shouted, “You too, fatso.”

A second man waving a pistol came up from behind everyone on that last aisle and forced them forward. He shouted, “We don’t have much time, man! Any valuables toss to my partner and make it quick.”

David looked around and then saw me being held by my hair and being used as a shield. Instead of tossing his wallet, he shouted, “Stevie!” and started to rush towards me. The guy holding me stuck the gun against my ear.

I saw the second man raise his gun and I shouted, “David! Stop! Please!” I started to cry.

David slid to a stop a few feet from me. The man holding me said, “Listen to your girlfriend, David.” He pointed his gun at
David’s head. “Now listen, boyfriend. Pull the bag out of that trash can, dump it and put those valuables on the floor into the bag.” To me he said, “You too, sweetstuff. Toss your purse to your boyfriend.”

The second man snatched the bag from David’s grasp as I was dragged by my hair towards the door. I felt the gun pressed against my neck as the man said, “She’s a cutie, ain’t she David? I think I’ll take her with me. I haven’t had a good fuck in a while.” The other man was already out the door.

I tried to hit the man holding me, but the angle was wrong and he had a very tight grip on my hair, close to my scalp. He’d probably kill me when he found out I wasn’t actually a girl. He’d probably still rape me, then kill me. The pain was intense as I tried to free my hair from his grasp.

David’s face twisted in rage and he started to lunge towards me and the criminal. I shouted, “David!”, tried to twist my body around. The robber took his gun from my neck and started to aim towards David. As he brought the weapon up while still running to the door, I stuck my leg between his, causing him to trip just as he fired.

My mind raced and everything seemed to move in slow motion. I saw David wince in pain and blood sprayed as the bullet penetrated his shoulder. The hit knocked him off balance and he too started to fall to the floor. The man let go of my hair as we both hit the floor. The pistol discharged again, the bullet taking out several bags of beef jerky. The gun fell from his grip and slid almost to arms reach of me.

The man scrambled on the floor trying to reach the gun. I managed to hit it with my fingers and sent it sliding a short distance across the hard tiled floor. David had only fallen to his knees and dived for the gun and grabbed it. Seeing David reach the pistol, the robber regained his feet and hit the front door of the convenience store.

Sliding on the floor, David fired three shots wildly, two entering the magazine rack, but the third ricocheted off the side of one of the racks and must have started tumbling as it made a loud thwack sound as it struck the robber’s leg, exploding out the other side of his leg and shattering the lower glass of the door and splattering it with blood. The man let out a yell, but managed to hobble to the waiting car and climb into the driver’s seat.

Tears streaming down my cheeks, I scrambled over to David who was trying to bring himself to a sitting position. “David!” I cried. “Oh my God, David! You’ve been shot!” Blood was running down his arm and making a small puddle on the floor.

Attempting a stoic smile, David said, “’Tis but a flesh wound…”

Sounding stern, I said, “David, this is no joke. You need an ambulance.” I tried to apply pressure to the wound, but his football uniform’s padding got in the way. From the damage to the padding, it took the direct hit and deflected the bullet so it missed the bone. I looked up and saw several people calling 911 on their cells. To David, I said, “Don’t move.” In the distance, I could hear approaching sirens.

David looked up and said, “Honestly, I really don’t feel anything right now.”

My cell phone was in my purse, which was now in the bag with the robbers. I knew there was a phone behind the counter and rushed to it. While I was dialing my house’s number, I saw someone looking to Oscar and saw him try to sit up.

“Hello?” said my Mom, answering the phone.

Tears gushing down my face, I said, “Oh my God, Mom! We were robbed! I had a gun to my head and David’s been shot!”

Silence for a few heartbeats, and then Mom said, “Oh my God, honey! Are you okay? And David’s shot?” There was muffled tone as I heard Mom talking to someone else. “You mean the Grimes boy?”

Still crying, looking at David sitting on the floor, I said, “Yes. Oh God, Mom. It was horrible.”

“I know honey. You’re okay now, right?” said Mom, her voice amazingly steady. “Where are you? At the party?”

Sniffling, I said, “No. That Seven-Eleven down the street from the house.”

More muffled words and then Mom said, “Your father’s on his way. Is that the police?” Three police cars roared into the parking lot, lights flashing and sirens blaring. And an ambulance pulled in close to the door.

I said, “Yes. I should probably hang up. There’s a policeman coming towards me.”

“Okay,” said Mom. “I just thank God you’re okay. Love you honey.”

“Love you, Mom,” I said as I hung up the phone.

A cop came up to me and said, “Are you injured, miss?”

I said, “No, but he’s been shot.” I pointed at David.

The cop did a quick examination of David’s shoulder and said, “It doesn’t look too bad. The EMTs will triage him at the ambulance and then take him to the hospital.” He looked at me again and said, “You’re sure you’re not hurt, miss? After I get a statement, you should probably have an EMT look at you anyway.”

Four guys from the ambulance rushed a gurney into the store and carefully helped David onto it. As they started to wheel him outside, the heavyset woman handed me a few tissues.

I said, “Thank you. I must look a mess.” It’s funny the stupid things you think of. I tried using one of the glass display cases as a mirror to try to wipe away the black streaks under my eyes.

As the police asked us each questions I saw my dad’s car pull into the parking lot. A police officer wouldn’t let him approach the store. I looked out at the ambulance to see David no longer on the gurney and sitting in the door of the ambulance. An EMT was wrapping his arm and shoulder.

I heard a cop say to another one, “The suspects have been apprehended. Apparently the driver of the vehicle passed out from loss of blood and hit a tree. Any idea who shot him?”

I pointed at David outside and said, “He did.”

The cop just nodded and said, “Good.”

The cop who had questioned all of us who were in the store said, “Okay, everyone. Y’all are free to go. If you need to be looked at by the EMTs, please do so now as they need to get the wounded gentleman to the hospital. We have descriptions of all your personal affects and you’ll be able to pick them up tomorrow afternoon at the station. Thank you everyone for your cooperation.”

I stepped through the broken door, crunching glass under my heels. Dad took a few steps in my direction, and then broke into a run and shouted, “Stevie!”

“Dad!” I yelled and started crying again. I rushed to meet him. He threw his arms around me and pulled me close to him. I
could see tears in his eyes. I hadn’t seen Dad cry since the team he had money on lost the Super Bowl. I buried my face in his shoulder. Through tears, all I could manage was, “Oh Dad!”

“I’m glad you’re safe,” Dad said, straightening up a little. “The thoughts that went through my head when your mother told me what happened. I was so worried.”

A police officer exiting the convenience store looked at my dad and said, “Is that your daughter?”

Dad looked at me and hesitated a moment and his expression told me he thought it wasn’t worth the effort to correct the cop. He said, “Yes.”

The cop said as he passed, “That’s one brave little girl you got there. You should be proud of her.”

Dad looked back at me with an odd expression and said, “I am.”

Smiling weakly, I said, “I need to talk to David for a second, Dad.”

Dad released his hug and said, “Sure. I’ll meet you at the car.” He turned and slowly walked back to the car.

I watched him for a few steps, then turned and walked briskly to the ambulance where David still sat. When he saw me approach, he stood up and smiled at me. Then he winced a little with the sudden movement.

“How’s the shoulder?” I asked when I stood in front of him. Even with heels I had to look up a little to look at his face.

He tried to flex his arm, winced with pain and then let it hang in the sling. He said, “I’ll live. Maybe.” He chuckled for a moment.

I studied his face for a moment, and then said, “Thanks for saving me and all…” I then feigned anger and thumped his good shoulder and said, ”What were you thinking, dork? Running at a gun like that! He could have killed you!”

David exclaimed, “Hey, I couldn’t just let them take you! I had to do something. And hey, thanks for saving me and all.”

With a wide grin I said, “I couldn’t just let them shoot you! I had to do something. I mean, you were my ride home.”

There was a momentary lull in the conversation. I said, “It was funny when the bad guy thought you were my boyfriend.”

David nodded and said, “Yeah. But then, we came in together and look how we’re dressed.”

Frowning slightly, I said, “That’s true.”

“Are you going back to the party?” David asked.

“Are you kidding?” I said looking shocked. “Terri can get her own damn sodas. Besides, I think my dad wants to take me home.”

An EMT walked up at that moment and said, “Miss. We need to get this man to the hospital for a more thorough treatment.”

David held up his good hand and said, “Just one more minute, please.” The EMT nodded and walked a few steps away.

David took my hand in his good hand and studied it for a few moments. Looking down he said, “I’m sorry, Stevie. I should have left you at the party.”

I interlaced my fingers with his and said in soft tones, “Sorry? David, none of this was your fault. If anything I should be sorry. If it wasn’t for me, you wouldn’t have been shot at all.”

David let go of my hand and softly stroked my cheek for a moment and then said, “Dammit, Stevie. Why do you have to be so beautiful?” He suddenly pulled me towards him, bent his head down and gave me a lingering, soft, sweet kiss. I tingled all over as I closed my eyes and leaned into his kiss. My lips lingered on his for several heartbeats before he pulled away.

Quietly, David said, “I need to go now.” He nodded at the EMTs and then said more loudly, “See you at school Monday.”

“See you, David,” I said softly as I watched the EMTs help him into the ambulance. The rear doors of the ambulance closed and then the ambulance pulled out of the store’s parking lot. I looked across the lot to see Dad, silhouetted against a streetlight, standing next to the car.

I folded my arms around myself to block out the chill of the night and started walking towards Dad. I smiled as I thought of David’s kiss.


*          *          *


The End

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